The Women Of Renaissance Ferrara

Episodes

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01St Catherine of Bologna20170306

01St Catherine of Bologna20170306

Donald Macleod explores the work of composer, poet and mystic St Catherine of Bologna.

01St Catherine Of Bologna20170306

Lust, murder, sex, intrigue - and a host of music written by, and for, virtuoso women. BBC Radio 3 lifts the lid on the secret world of the singing ladies of Renaissance Ferrara.

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597 they faded into legend. This week, Composer of the Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

Donald and Laurie begin the week with a selection of gems from Ferrara's golden age - and hints of the dramatic story to come - before taking us right back to the mid-15th century and the first key figure in our story: composer, poet and mystic St Catherine of Bologna. Famed as a composer, poet, singer and violinist, musicians and poets from around Europe would come to the doors of the convent of Corpus Domini in Ferrara for an audience with Catherine, who - according to legend -would play for days at a time, and move between song and speech, music and chant.

Suor Leonora d'Este

Salve Sponsa Dei

Music Secreta

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Non sa che sia dolore

Doulce Memoire

Denis Rasin Dadre, conductor

I'mi son giovinetta

Toccata del quarto tono

O dolcezz' amarissime d'Amor

Musica Secreta

Anon, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino I: Madre che festi

La Reverdie

Giardino III: Benedicamus Domino; Deh, dime se'l piace

Giardino VI: O Yesu Dolce

Giardino VII: O Dilecto Iesu Christu

Adiastema, La Reverdie

Heinrich Isaac, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino X: J'ai pris amours

Giardino XI: Ciaschudana amante

Donald Macleod explores the work of composer, poet and mystic St Catherine of Bologna.

01St Catherine of Bologna20170306

Lust, murder, sex, intrigue - and a host of music written by, and for, virtuoso women. BBC Radio 3 lifts the lid on the secret world of the singing ladies of Renaissance Ferrara.

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597 they faded into legend. This week, Composer of the Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

Donald and Laurie begin the week with a selection of gems from Ferrara's golden age - and hints of the dramatic story to come - before taking us right back to the mid-15th century and the first key figure in our story: composer, poet and mystic St Catherine of Bologna. Famed as a composer, poet, singer and violinist, musicians and poets from around Europe would come to the doors of the convent of Corpus Domini in Ferrara for an audience with Catherine, who - according to legend -would play for days at a time, and move between song and speech, music and chant.

Suor Leonora d'Este

Salve Sponsa Dei

Music Secreta

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Non sa che sia dolore

Doulce Memoire

Denis Rasin Dadre, conductor

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

I'mi son giovinetta

Toccata del quarto tono

O dolcezz' amarissime d'Amor

Musica Secreta

Anon, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino I: Madre che festi

La Reverdie

Anon, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino III: Benedicamus Domino; Deh, dime se'l piace

La Reverdie

Anon, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino VI: O Yesu Dolce

Giardino VII: O Dilecto Iesu Christu

Adiastema, La Reverdie

Heinrich Isaac, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino X: J'ai pris amours

Anon, words St Catherine of Bologna

Giardino XI: Ciaschudana amante

Adiastema, La Reverdie.

02Lucrezia Borgia, Tromboncino and de Rore20170307

02Lucrezia Borgia, Tromboncino and de Rore20170307

Donald Macleod and Laurie Stras explore the musical legacy of Lucrezia Borgia and her favourite composer (and murderer), Bartolomeo Tromboncino, the "Little Trombone".

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer of the Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

At the 16th century dawned, Ferrara welcomed the most notorious woman in Renaissance Italy to its magnificent Castello: Lucrezia Borgia, new wife of Duke Alfonso I. Their daughter, Leonora d'Este - composer, singer, and nun - was to prove one of the most remarkable and influential musical figures of the 1500s. But for now, the court of Ferrara rang with the frottole, or popular songs, of Bartolomeo Tromboncino - a composer who had fled his home city of Mantua after murdering his unfaithful wife. Donald Macleod explores how the frottola was hugely influential in the development of the madrigal - the most celebrated secular vocal form of the age - and explores the legacy of a giant of the Ferrarese Renaissance, the Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore, and his murky relationship with the notorious Protestant duchess, Renée of France.

Bartolomeo Tromboncino

Nel foco tremo

Clare Wilkinson, mezzo

Musica Antiqua of London

Philip Thorby, conductor

Bartolomeo Tromboncino

Vergine bella

Emma Kirby, soprano

Consort of Musicke

Anthony Rooley, director

Cipriano de Rore

Hor che'l ciel e la terra e'l vento tace

Musica Secreta

Cipriano de Rore

Mia benigna fortuna; O sonno, o della queta humida ombrosa

The Hilliard Ensemble

Cipriano de Rore

Amor se cosi dolce

Musica Secreta

Cipriano de Rore

Se ben il duol

Huelgas Ensemble

Paul van Nevel, conductor

Giaches de Wert

Dolci spoglie; Il dolce sonno

Musica Secreta

Suor Leonora d'Este

Sicut lilium inter spinas

Music Secreta.

02Lucrezia Borgia, Tromboncino and de Rore20170307

The musical legacy of Lucrezia Borgia and her favourite composer, Bartolomeo Tromboncino.

02Lucrezia Borgia, Tromboncino And De Rore20170307

The musical legacy of Lucrezia Borgia and her favourite composer, Bartolomeo Tromboncino.

Donald Macleod and Laurie Stras explore the musical legacy of Lucrezia Borgia and her favourite composer (and murderer), Bartolomeo Tromboncino, the "Little Trombone".

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer of the Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

At the 16th century dawned, Ferrara welcomed the most notorious woman in Renaissance Italy to its magnificent Castello: Lucrezia Borgia, new wife of Duke Alfonso I. Their daughter, Leonora d'Este - composer, singer, and nun - was to prove one of the most remarkable and influential musical figures of the 1500s. But for now, the court of Ferrara rang with the frottole, or popular songs, of Bartolomeo Tromboncino - a composer who had fled his home city of Mantua after murdering his unfaithful wife. Donald Macleod explores how the frottola was hugely influential in the development of the madrigal - the most celebrated secular vocal form of the age - and explores the legacy of a giant of the Ferrarese Renaissance, the Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore, and his murky relationship with the notorious Protestant duchess, Renée of France.

Bartolomeo Tromboncino

Nel foco tremo

Clare Wilkinson, mezzo

Musica Antiqua of London

Philip Thorby, conductor

Vergine bella

Emma Kirby, soprano

Consort of Musicke

Anthony Rooley, director

Cipriano de Rore

Hor che'l ciel e la terra e'l vento tace

Musica Secreta

Mia benigna fortuna; O sonno, o della queta humida ombrosa

The Hilliard Ensemble

Amor se cosi dolce

Se ben il duol

Huelgas Ensemble

Paul van Nevel, conductor

Giaches de Wert

Dolci spoglie; Il dolce sonno

Suor Leonora d'Este

Sicut lilium inter spinas

Music Secreta.

03Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti20170308

03Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti20170308

Revealed for the first time in 500 years: the enigmatic genius of two pioneering women composers of Renaissance Ferrara: Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti.

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer Of The Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

As BBC Radio 3 celebrates International Women's Day, we feature the story of two extraordinary female composing pioneers - both of whose legacy is shrouded in mystery. Suor Leonora d'Este was the daughter of the infamous Lucrezia Borgia, a nun, a singer and - it's believed - the composer of one of the most mysterious books of motets of the mid-16th century. Donald Macleod's guest, Renaissance music scholar Laurie Stras, explains why she thinks this ostensibly anonymous text came from Leonora's hand: making her the first published woman composer in Western musical history. Meanwhile, in contemporary Ferrara, Donald explores the enigma of Vittoria and Raffaella Aleotti, two sisters - one a published composer of madrigals, the other a convent-dwelling composer of motets. Or were they in fact the same person?

Suor Leonora d'Este

O salutaris hostia

Musica Secreta

Suor Leonora d'Este

Ego sum panis vitae; Ave sanctissima Maria

Musica Secreta

Suor Leonora d'Este

Felix namque es sacra

Musica Secreta

Suor Leonora d'Este

Tribulationes civitatum

Musica Secreta

Raffaella Aleotti

Sancta et immaculata virginitas

Cappella Artemisa

Candace Smith, director

Vittoria Aleotti

Cor mio per più piangi; Hor che la vaga aurora

La Villanella Basel

Raffaella Aleotti

Surge propera amica mea; Vidi speciosam; Ego flos campi

Cappella Artemisia

Candace Smith, director.

03Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti20170308

Two pioneering composers of Renaissance Ferrara: Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti.

03Leonora D'este And Raffaella Aleotti20170308

Two pioneering composers of Renaissance Ferrara: Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti.

Revealed for the first time in 500 years: the enigmatic genius of two pioneering women composers of Renaissance Ferrara: Leonora d'Este and Raffaella Aleotti.

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer Of The Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

As BBC Radio 3 celebrates International Women's Day, we feature the story of two extraordinary female composing pioneers - both of whose legacy is shrouded in mystery. Suor Leonora d'Este was the daughter of the infamous Lucrezia Borgia, a nun, a singer and - it's believed - the composer of one of the most mysterious books of motets of the mid-16th century. Donald Macleod's guest, Renaissance music scholar Laurie Stras, explains why she thinks this ostensibly anonymous text came from Leonora's hand: making her the first published woman composer in Western musical history. Meanwhile, in contemporary Ferrara, Donald explores the enigma of Vittoria and Raffaella Aleotti, two sisters - one a published composer of madrigals, the other a convent-dwelling composer of motets. Or were they in fact the same person?

Suor Leonora d'Este

O salutaris hostia

Musica Secreta

Ego sum panis vitae; Ave sanctissima Maria

Felix namque es sacra

Tribulationes civitatum

Raffaella Aleotti

Sancta et immaculata virginitas

Cappella Artemisa

Candace Smith, director

Vittoria Aleotti

Cor mio per più piangi; Hor che la vaga aurora

La Villanella Basel

Surge propera amica mea; Vidi speciosam; Ego flos campi

Cappella Artemisia

04Giaches de Wert and the First Concerto20170309

04Giaches de Wert and the First Concerto20170309

After a devastating earthquake nearly destroys Ferrara in 1570, from the rubble is born an extraordinary ensemble of virtuoso female musicians.

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer Of The Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

Barely a decade into the rule of Duke Alfonso II, the man who turned Ferrara into a cultural and political powerhouse, tragedy struck the city in 1570 as it was hit by a devastating earthquake. Alfonso's accession had already resulted in the flowering of female singing at the court, but now, forced to entertain visiting royalty on the most threadbare of resources, the Duke commanded his finest female musicians to form an ensemble of their own - dazzling guests with their brilliant, shimmering vocal harmonies. This first generation of singing ladies was to gain a pan-European reputation, and set the scene for the fabled "concerto delle donne" - highly-secretive concerts at which noblemen would be treated to an utterly unique, and mesmerising, musical performance. Donald Macleod explores the genesis of the ensemble with Renaissance music scholar Laurie Stras, concentrating today on the music of one of the age's most gifted composers: Giaches de Wert.

Giaches de Wert

Amen, amen dico vobis

Stile Antico

Giaches de Wert

Gratie ch'a pochi il ciel largo destina; Tirsi morir volea

Musica Secreta

Giaches de Wert

Qual musico gentil

Musica Secreta

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Dolci sospiri ardenti

Musica Secreta

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Ch'io non t'ami cor mio; Canzon francese; Troppo ben'puo

La Venexiana

Giaches de Wert

Ascendente Jesu in naviculam

Stile Antico.

04Giaches de Wert and the First Concerto20170309

How an earthquake in Ferrara led to the creation of a unique ensemble of virtuoso women.

04Giaches De Wert And The First Concerto20170309

How an earthquake in Ferrara led to the creation of a unique ensemble of virtuoso women.

After a devastating earthquake nearly destroys Ferrara in 1570, from the rubble is born an extraordinary ensemble of virtuoso female musicians.

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer Of The Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

Barely a decade into the rule of Duke Alfonso II, the man who turned Ferrara into a cultural and political powerhouse, tragedy struck the city in 1570 as it was hit by a devastating earthquake. Alfonso's accession had already resulted in the flowering of female singing at the court, but now, forced to entertain visiting royalty on the most threadbare of resources, the Duke commanded his finest female musicians to form an ensemble of their own - dazzling guests with their brilliant, shimmering vocal harmonies. This first generation of singing ladies was to gain a pan-European reputation, and set the scene for the fabled "concerto delle donne" - highly-secretive concerts at which noblemen would be treated to an utterly unique, and mesmerising, musical performance. Donald Macleod explores the genesis of the ensemble with Renaissance music scholar Laurie Stras, concentrating today on the music of one of the age's most gifted composers: Giaches de Wert.

Giaches de Wert

Amen, amen dico vobis

Stile Antico

Gratie ch'a pochi il ciel largo destina; Tirsi morir volea

Musica Secreta

Qual musico gentil

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Dolci sospiri ardenti

Ch'io non t'ami cor mio; Canzon francese; Troppo ben'puo

La Venexiana

Ascendente Jesu in naviculam

05Dangerous Graces - Luzzaschi and the Fall of Ferrara20170310

The death of the 'singing ladies' era, when the Duchy met a shockingly abrupt end.

As Europe's nobility scramble for an audience with the secretive singing ladies of Ferrara, the Duchy meets a shockingly abrupt end. The fate of its musical legacy lies in the hand of just one man...

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer of the Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

By the late 1500s, the secret concerts of Alfonso II were the hottest ticket in Europe, with composers, poets and noblemen flocking to Ferrara to hear the legendary vocal virtuosity of its stars Anna Guarini, Laura Peverara and Livia d'Arco. Yet only the most privileged would be granted an audience in the tiny salon, deep in the Castello, where the women would sing and play under the supervision of their music director, Luzzasco Luzzaschi. Yet, just as it was at the peak of its cultural power, the Duchy of Ferrara abruptly fell, Anna Guarini was brutally murdered, and the secrets of an extraordinary century of female music-making were left in jeopardy...

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Occhi del pianto mio

Musica Secreta

Lodovico Agostini

Ecco col nostra Duca; Contrapuncto primo; Quel canto ohime; Mentre l'argute

Doulce Memoire

Denis Raisin Dadre, director

Lodovico Agostini

Enigma: Una si chiara luce; Enigma: Ne la beata vespa; Enigma: Vago augelin

Doulce Memoire

Denis Raisin Dadre, director

Luca Marenzio

Bianchi cigni

The Consort of Musicke

Anthony Rooley, lute and director

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Deh vieni hormai cor mio

Musica Secreta

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

T'amo mia vita; O primavera gioventu dell'anno; Stral pungente d'amore

Musica Secreta

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Aura soave

La Venexiana.

05Dangerous Graces - Luzzaschi And The Fall Of Ferrara20170310

The death of the 'singing ladies' era, when the Duchy met a shockingly abrupt end.

As Europe's nobility scramble for an audience with the secretive singing ladies of Ferrara, the Duchy meets a shockingly abrupt end. The fate of its musical legacy lies in the hand of just one man...

Throughout the 1500s, the northern Italian city of Ferrara was one of Europe's political and cultural powerhouses: ducal seat of the celebrated d'Este family, and home for a time to perhaps the Renaissance's most notorious femme fatale: Lucrezia Borgia. Yet it also had a thriving musical culture - one founded upon the unique talents of a set of quite extraordinary women, who honed their musical gifts in almost total secrecy in convents and at secret concerts held in a tiny room within Ferrara's vast Castello. These women had a huge influence on Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other luminaries of the early Baroque - yet when the Duchy of Ferrara fell in 1597, they faded into legend. This week, Composer of the Week puts that right. Recorded in studio and on location in modern-day Ferrara, Donald Macleod is joined by Renaissance musical scholar Laurie Stras to explore more than a century of female musical genius.

By the late 1500s, the secret concerts of Alfonso II were the hottest ticket in Europe, with composers, poets and noblemen flocking to Ferrara to hear the legendary vocal virtuosity of its stars Anna Guarini, Laura Peverara and Livia d'Arco. Yet only the most privileged would be granted an audience in the tiny salon, deep in the Castello, where the women would sing and play under the supervision of their music director, Luzzasco Luzzaschi. Yet, just as it was at the peak of its cultural power, the Duchy of Ferrara abruptly fell, Anna Guarini was brutally murdered, and the secrets of an extraordinary century of female music-making were left in jeopardy...

Luzzasco Luzzaschi

Occhi del pianto mio

Musica Secreta

Lodovico Agostini

Ecco col nostra Duca; Contrapuncto primo; Quel canto ohime; Mentre l'argute

Doulce Memoire

Denis Raisin Dadre, director

Enigma: Una si chiara luce; Enigma: Ne la beata vespa; Enigma: Vago augelin

Luca Marenzio

Bianchi cigni

The Consort of Musicke

Anthony Rooley, lute and director

Deh vieni hormai cor mio

T'amo mia vita; O primavera gioventu dell'anno; Stral pungente d'amore

Aura soave

La Venexiana.